A response to the CU administrative response to the students' declaration of human rights, as reported by Whitney Bryen ("CU: Protestors' demands too much," March 12, 2012).
First, I don't want to dwell on the patronizing, defensive and shortsighted tone of (CU spokesman) Bronson Hilliard's response as clear evidence of the lack of cultural competencies that the students have every right to demand from their university leaders.
What I do want to focus on is his statement that seems to suggest that the university leaders (distinguished by their bright and shining example of an extreme lack of diversity in leadership positions in a state that is very diverse) have also had it "rough." This is suggested by the following defensive and patronizing comment, "... I would say back to them, all of us came from somewhere and have experiences of our own that might surprise them..."
So I would like Hilliard to ask the following questions of the university leaders at all echelons, from the president to the deans:
1. Do you have a fear of being sexually assaulted when you are walking to and from your office and/or being sexually harassed in the workplace/classroom?
2. Are you earning 30 percent less than your peers because of your gender?
3. Are you worried about being the victim of a racially motivated hate crime?
4. Are you worried about making your meetings/classes on time because it is almost impossible to get your wheelchair -- among other visible and invisible disabilities -- into the buildings?
5. Are you worried about dealing with a homophobic climate with anti-gay slurs, jokes, lack of promotion and isolation in the workplace and full on physical assault because of your perceived sexual orientation?
6. Are you pulled over by campus and Boulder police when you are trying to find a parking space near campus, and/or walking on campus, because, in the eyes of the officer, you don't look like student or faculty?
7. Are you pulled over and questioned if you are walking home late from the library because you fit a profile and there are reports of assault and burglaries?
8. Are you worried about you, your siblings and your parents getting deported by ICE and/or questioned because of your perceived immigration status?
9. Can you afford books and basic needs as you struggle to better yourself through education?
10. Are you worried about people seeing you as a terrorist because of your spiritual beliefs and traditions?
More questions could continue, but I hope you get the idea.
So as you all ponder your answers to these questions, please at the very least show enough decency and humility and step away from the arrogance of power to actually listen and make changes that all students, faculty and staff deserve.
Please lead by example rather than a sustained derision of "real" diversity.
Arturo J. Aldama
CU associate professor